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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The South Cushitic or West Rift Cushitic languages split into two branches: Southern vs. Northern. While the Southern branch continues in Burunge, the Northern branch comprises Alagwa and Iraqwoid, which includes the dialects Gorwaa and Iraqw. Internal convergence of Alagwa towards the Southern branch produced bundles of Burunge/Alagwa lexical isoglosses which could easily be wrongly taken to reflect genetic inheritance. Languages such as Qw’adza, Aasáx, Ma’a/Mbugu, and Dahalo must be excluded from an internal classification of South Cushitic for various methodological considerations. Dahalo’s genetic position between South and East Cushitic has not been determined beyond doubt. Ma’a/Mbugu rather represents an extreme case of intertwining of Bantu and Cushitic, involving language shift and deliberate creation of an ethnolinguistic register. Finally, for both Qw’adza and Aasáx, poor overall documentary coverage and the contexts of data acquisition do not allow for reliable integration into an adequate internal classification.

Keywords: genetic position, internal convergence, South Cushitic, West Rift, East Cushitic

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